SEPTEMBER 10, 2011
Changes ahead at Team Lotus
Team Lotus boss Tony Fernandes says that there will be changes next year if the team does not make significant progress.
“If we’re still 19th next year, then someone’s not doing something right and ultimately I’m the leader of this, so someone else has got to do it,” he said at Monza.
Denying that he would walk away personally, Fernandes was asked if he was referring to technical chief Mike Gascoyne.
“I think Mike would be the first one to say it if he doesn’t produce a car that’s in the middle of the pack next year having been given all the tools. I think he’s done a fantastic job to get us to where we are, but next year is the year that everyone’s head is on the block.”
Fernandes admitted that he plans to move the team away from its current Norfolk base to somewhere nearer Silverstone.
“The big thing for us is to be a column one team,” he said,
“that changes the whole economics of things. God willing we’ll be able to do that at the end of the season. We’ve now got a decent wind tunnel, we’ve got Mark Smith in, we’re making a couple of other key appointments and we’re looking at where we are going to be. These things take time.
“I think the best scenario is that the cars leave for Australia next year and come back to a new home. There’s no two ways about it. But Hingham will always be there, because we’ve got composites and we’re developing a technology and engineering division.”
While not confirming just yet that he is prepared to abandon the Team Lotus name, as has been suggested, Fernandes admitted that the logical thing to do was to build up the Caterham brand.
Karun Chandhok, who substituted for Jarno Trulli at Silverstone, is likely to get another race in place of the Italian at the inaugural Indian GP next month but Kovalainen and Trulli are favourites to retain their seats next year.
“I want to see them both in a proper car,” Fernandes said.
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